If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have gushed incessantly about my love for Victoria Schwab's writing. She has completely mastered world building all the while pulling every feel you have from your soul. I have almost perused the pages of all of her books with the Archive series left. The Shades of Magic series is my all time favorite series so I know what to expect from Schwab as a writer who incorporates magic, monsters and other worldly gifts into her storytelling so brilliantly. TSS has four verses and admittedly the first verse was a bit slow for me, but I trust VES as a writer so I knew it would build to a bookish crescendo.
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
The two main characters, Kate and August, have such a conflicting relationship which I loved. Since V. Schwab is a genius, she knows precisely not to write character archetypes. There was no fluffy-puffy romance between these to characters which constantly reminded me as a reader of the war, that rests on both of their shoulders, may very well prevent them from ever having a romance even although, they are incredibly protective of each other. Kate, Katherine Olivia Harker is human. Her father is a vicious crime lord in V-city. Kate, is irritable, brash, no nonsense and determined. "August", a given name or Freddie Gallagher, is the opposite; her nemesis, a monster who has fed on the flesh and souls of humans and he is the adopted son of Henry Flynn, Harker's rival.
Kate wants her father's approval so badly that she often convinces herself she is a "monster", brutal beyond comprehension. She wants to be a monster like August, where she doesn't have to deal with the hurts, the emotions of the human experience. She often has blissful flashbacks about her mom, about a girl she used to be and convinces herself that she can't be her anymore. August is incredibly lovable and endearing. What Kate sees in him is freedom, but he is mentally suffocating and dealing with internal turmoil about being a monster. He wants to be human and free from the urges to kill. Beyond the surface of these characters lies a statement about how we always think the grass is greener on the other side. We always see the surface of others, but not the pain beneath.
With Kate's father and August's father already being at odds, Kate and August's connection threatens to break a long standing truce in V-City. At some point in the story, Kate and August are attacked by Malchai (monsters) who intend to execute Kate. However, they staged the attack to like a Sunai execution. In hindsight, Kate's death would have been been pinned on August breaking the truce and setting off another war in V-city between Sunai and Malchai. The pacing of the first verse was slow for me, but towards the end of Verse two the story exploded. August's brother Leo turns out to be a traitor because he feels their father, Flynn, is not leading their kind properly and his ways are antiquated. August eventually kills his brother. Although this was a surprising twists, I'm not certain I was able to identify an actual plot. The story was very cut and dry. I just saw the cover reveal for the second book, Our Dark Duet, in this series and since TSS book was completely amazeballs, I am over the top excited about it!
Schwab never disappoints!! This Savage Song is a must read. Although I was bit confused in the beginning in terms of piecing together the world, it came together effortlessly and I could not put it down. Overall, this book was insanely amazing!! There is no guessing the struggles of each character and how those struggles play a pivotal role in their journey to maintain peace in the monstrous V-City.